Album: The Last Knight
Genre: Power Metal
Release: 31.01.2020 (Napalm Records)
What does a good power metal album need? For me, it needs catchy melodies, epic lyrics and a certain cohesiveness amongst the songs.
Last Friday, the Austrian power metal band Serenity delivered just that with their new album The Last Knight. The album containing 12 songs covers the life and legacy of Maximilian I of the House Habsburg, also known as „the last Knight“.
In typical Serenity-style, they managed to dress historic events into an epical music-dress, which, at least for me, doesn’t leave any else to be desired. A special highlight, apart from the music, is the whole layout of the CD and the booklet. Everything is designed in silver and blue and it just looks tremendously stunning! Admirers of a good design are already set with this!
At the first listen, the first impression is the song The Last Knight, a song that could have easily fit into a fight scene in Lord of the Rings. The transition to the second song Invictus is seamless and just like that you are being dragged into a dynamic song that invites you to sing along, despite the slightly harder guitars. In the whole conception of the song, I feel reminded of some songs by Gloryhammer.
The fourth song of the album is also my second favorite and is named Keeper of the Knights. The song captures the listener with its enormously catchy chorus. The well-placed backing vocals/choirs support the tempo arcs almost perfectly and make this a potential hit!
My personal highlight however is the song Queen of Avalon. Even though the lyrics are a bit short, in my opinion, it is still the song that shows Serenity’s musical progression the best. The impactful melody is accompanied by strong guitars and powerful yet diverse vocals. After hearing this song I was fully prepared to march into battle – no matter for whom! The last Lionheart lacked such a song and if I had to recommend one song from this new album, it would definitely be Queen of Avalon.
In the whole conception of the album, there is a ceasura after Queen of Avalon due to the following ballad My Farewell. I personally could have gone without a ballad, but in the topic of Maximilian I., there absolutely needs to be a part talking about his wife’s early death after only five years of marriage. I cannot say for sure that this is what was intended for the song, but I think it makes sense since Maximilian was deeply hurt by Mary of Burgundy’s death. [Edit, Feb. 4th 2020: After going back and watching the short track-by-track video covering this song on the band’s instagram, I can now say that my hypotheses is indeed correct and that the song is about Mary of Burgundy.]
Dynamic-wise, Serenity are able to get us out of the dark and sad emotions of the ballad by delivering the martial song Down to Hell. This song is on the harder side of the band’s musical spectrum and is a good fit for everyone who enjoys long, well-played guitar solos.
A very special treat at the end of the album is the duet of Georg with Oliver Hartmann delivering a beautiful acoustic rendition of Souls and Sin.
To draw a conclusion, Serenity presented an album that shows that it is possible to musically advance while not losing yourself. The album is very cohesive and in the line of the last albums it is by far my favorite. At the end of the first run-through i was very sad to be unable to see at least one show of their upcoming tour, because I am sure that they will present even more power than ever before. Thumbs up for this masterpiece!
Georg Neuhauser (Vocals)
Andreas Schipflinger (Drums, Vocals)
Chris Hermsdörfer (Guitars, Vocals, Growls)
Fabio D’Amore (Bass Guitar, Vocals)